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The Hindu on indiaserver.com : Narmada activists mount pressure on German Govt.

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Monday, May 29, 2000


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Narmada activists mount pressure on German Govt.

BERLIN, MAY 28 Indian opponents of the controversial Maheshwar Dam, being built as part of the Narmada valley power project, have mounted pressure on the federal government here not to grant export credit guarantee to two German companies, which would clear the decks for their participation in the project.

According to officials of ``Blue 21'' and ``Urgewald'', two German NGOs supporting the cause of the dam opponents, a three- member delegation of grassroots-level representatives from the Narmada region held meetings with government officials for eight days here recently, a few weeks ahead of the expected decision by the Schroeder Government.

The delegation under the aegis of the Narmada Bachao Andolan has unequivocally demanded that Siemens and Hypovereins Bank not be granted the Hermes guarantee which would clear the way for their participation in the project. The two companies have sought the guarantee from the German government for loans and turbine supplies to the tune of $170 million for the construction of the dam and power station in Madhya Pradesh.

An inter-ministerial task force here comprising officials from four ministries - foreign affairs, finance, economics and development cooperation - is examining the issue.

According to a spokesman of ``Blue 21'', the issue would go before the German Cabinet for a final decision if the task force is divided on giving the go-ahead for Hermes guarantee for the two firms.

- PTI

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